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Partnering for Success within the Residential Curriculum

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Andy Mitchell

on 8 May 2015

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Transcript of Partnering for Success within the Residential Curriculum

Partnering for Success within the Residential Curriculum
The Learning Partnership Model
The Learning Partnership Model is focused on helping students move towards self-authorship: moving from a focus on following external formulas to an internal foundation as a sense of self.
Three assumptions and three principles
Why a Residential Curriculum?
Ten essential elements of a Residential Curriculum from the ACPA Residential Curriculum institute:

Direct connections to institutional mission
Learning outcomes are developed and based in a defined educational priority
A basis in developmental theory and research
Educational strategies are developed that advance the learning outcomes
Educational strategies that go beyond programmed events
Utilization of student staff, but not in roles that require educational expertise
Identification and involvement of key stakeholders
Learning is scaffolded and sequenced to follow student development month-to-month and year-to year
The curriculum is peer reviewed through an intentional process
An assessment plan that is implemented to review success in reaching the defined learning outcomes (Edwards & Gardener, 2010)

Please share with us how a successful Assistant Director of Residence Life for East Campus would collaborate with diverse staff partners to implement an educational curriculum for students in residence that addresses:

(a) Authorship;
(b) Interculturalism;
(c) Community Living; and
(d) current trends, research, and challenges that college students are experiencing.

Share elements that are necessary to achieve these outcomes and why you selected them.
Edwards, K. E., & Gardener, K. (2010, October 28). What is a residential curriculum? [PowerPoint slides]. Plenary session presented at the 2010 Residential Curriculum Institute, St. Paul, MN.

Learning Reconsidered

Our model of learning is out of date
Focus on repetition of information rather than intellectual understanding and practical sense of experience
Our idea of learning is embedded in a positivist epistemology
The assumption that one can separate knowledge acquisition from learners
The construction of meaning no longer occurs only in the academic context
As the demographics of who participates in higher education expands, so to do the reasons for participation and purposes of students
Constructivism: a challenge to positivism
Each individual's experience and perspective frame their interpretation of information

(Jane Fried, Learning Reconsidered 2)
Learning Reconsidered

Learning has physiological, social and emotional, cognitive, and developmental dimensions
Learning is characterized by a flowing process in which students acquire, analyze, and place information into a pre-existing pattern of meaning, often expanding or altering that pattern
It is impossible to separate learning, development, and context
Powerful learning transforms how students view themselves and the world

(Jane Fried, learning reconsidered 2

The roles of paraprofessional staff

Although peer mentors (Resident Assistants) play a role in the creation of the educational components of the curriculum, they are not educational experts. The core of any Residential Curriculum must redefine the role of the professional staff as it relates to developing and implementing programming and other educational opportunities.

Commitment to Community

Community is Essential for Learning

"Living in community is essential to the full development and education of the whole person. The Marianist tradition values community living as the practical way in which Christians learn to live the gospel, striving to love God, neighbor and self in daily life. All people, regardless of religious belief or faith tradition, learn essential life lessons such as self-awareness, communication, cooperation, mutual respect, courage, forgiveness, patience and trust from living in community with others."

University of Dayton, C2C
Three assumptions

1) Knowledge is complex and socially constructed
2) Self is central to knowledge construction
3) Authority and expertise are shared in the mutual construction of knowledge among peers
Three principles

1) Validating learners as knowers
insure students know their voice is important; help students to view you as human, approachable, and concerned; encourage active sharing of ideas and viewpoints
2) Situating learning in learner's own experience
recognize and acknowledge that students bring their own experiences; avoid marginalizing students; share stories; make the information relevant; provide opportunities for self-reflection
3) Defining learning as mutually constructing meaning
frame learning as something you do together; present teaching and learning as relational; allow the student to be the instructor; allow students to see your thinking, reasoning, learning, and writing processes
Elements of a Residential Curriculum
Putting it all together
Our paraprofessional and graduate staff are perfectly positioned to assist our students in their learning, serving both in the role as content providers and partners along the journey
However, it is hard for our staff to see themselves in this role, particularly after years of being primarily programmers. We also likely have not adequately communicated this changing role withour campus partners
Partnering for success within the Residential Curriculum

Before we begin, on a scrap piece of paper, write a response to the following prompts:

1) What makes a good RA or Fellow?

2) If you could ask one question of every first or second year student on campus, what would you ask them?
by Andy Mitchell
by Andy Mitchell
Connection between the Learning Partnership Model and our Learning Outcomes
The Learning Partnership Model is analogous to our Vision for Residential Learning due to the way that they both encourage a shift towards the internal. The Learning Partnership Model encourages a shift towards an internal definition of self and the Vision for Residential Learning encourages an internalized locus of control. The principles that encourage development in the Learning Partnership Model are also principles that encourage growth within the residential curriculum.
Vision for Residential Learning

Residents will…
Clarify personal values and beliefs.
Demonstrate respect and appreciation of others’ values and beliefs.
Act with integrity in accordance with one’s values and beliefs.

Residents will…
Articulate how one’s personal culture interacts with the cultural identity of others.
Demonstrate respect and appreciation of the cultural perspective of others.
Utilize skills to build and support inclusive community.

Residents will…
Articulate the characteristics of a healthy community.
Actively engage in developing a strong community.
Hold others accountable in a manner that benefits all members of the community.
So what does this mean?
We have some powerful opportunities to think about the way in which we conceptualize the role of our staff in relationship to our students and how we engage campus partners in our areas.
For instance, what if we created a model that mixed elements of the Learning Partnership Model and Motivational Interviewing in the most streamlined way possible that we could train staff in to use in their interactions with residents?
This could be as simple as:

1) Allow your residents to lead the conversation. Ask open ended questions.
2) Validate their experience. While it may be tempting to share a similar experience you had, focus on them.
3) When in doubt, ask "why?" Remember, you can always come back to the conversation later if you aren't sure how to continue.
AVIATE also encourages strong connections with campus partners. However, our collaborations which are the most powerful tend to also be the ones with the most structure.
RAs and Fellows
Graduate Assistants
Within AVIATE and the way the department functions in general, there is quite a few ways in which we can support our GA's in their professional growth.

Given the growth of the department, we need to start utilizing our GAs as planners and facilitators, not just as implementers.

Our RDs have demonstrated what they can accomplish if given some latitude and flexibility, but we will also need to insure that we are not overwhelming our GAs.
Professional Staff
AVIATE necessitates collaboration on a deeper level within department between various areas to provide for the consistency that a residential curriculum needs. At the same time, it is important to provide opportunities for professional staff to share their voice as to what is happening within their areas.
We can also think about how we structure designing our educational plans. For instance, we currently design our educational plans in groups divided by experience (FYE, SYE, and UDE). What if we divided it by learning outcome instead?
We have the structure in place to provide staff more opportunities to impact how our staff work at the departmental level with workgroups.
Both of these approaches would provide more opportunities for professional staff to make use of their own areas of expertise, create more agency within the department, and in general leverage the skills and talents that our professional staff bring to our department in more sophisticated ways.
Campus Partners
AVIATE is a groundbreaking approach to residential education which fundamentally changes the role of every staff member in the department. We need to better communicate the degree and ways in which these roles have changed in order to be better collaborators. This change in roles both provides ways in which we can partner in ways we never have before and impacts ways in which we have traditionally worked.
The RA and Fellow role have been most impacted by this change. We need to help these staff members understand what this means for them in their new roles and design support systems for them.
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